True to my Twitter profile description, I really do love a chunky heel (and chunky cheese really is my nemesis because of its stench). Even better when it’s one that keeps you on the ground in sturdy fashion so for a while I’ve been meaning to write about two relative shoebies (like errr.. newbies and shoes mixed together), to extol the virtues of their distinctive visions of walk-friendly footwear.
Strictly speaking Purified isn’t really a “shoebie” as such, even though they’ve only been going for a handful of seasons. They’ve rapidly they have build up an impressive list of stockists such as Dover Street Market, Net-a-Porter and Opening Ceremony. Shoe designer, Dominic Webster, who was formerly a creative director of Six London and art director Simone See came together over a mutual interest of wanting to create a shoe brand that connected with their passions, namely art, film and interiors. They have the backing of parent company Hudson Shoes, which gave them the freedom to create, as sourcing and production was taken care of (which incidentally makes for contemporary level pricing despite the quality being on par with higher marked-up shoe brands). As it stands Purified as a brand feels like it’s been around much longer than it has precisely because both Webster and See have a precise vision of what they do. “It’s how we’d want to dress our house,” explained Webster in a nutshell as the two apply their aesthetic tastes in other fields, to footwear so that Purified, with everything from its logo to the packaging to their in-store installations to in-house Tumblr blog feel like they are building a world around their shoes. Every shoe is stamped with their emblem of a magpie – an intelligent bird. As in exactly the sort of women (and men) that would buy into Purified. Webster and See single out customer “types” such as the Comme des Garcons-wearing “goth grannies” and the Scandi-leaning “rock chicks”. Unsurprisingly black features heavily but in ways that will convince even rainbow ravers like myself.
Purified’s core “Patti” boot, for instance features hiking boot lace-up hooks and metal details slotted in at the back of the heel and at the toe cap and the heel itself slants at an angle. These details collectively make Purified’s dose of black feel like it’s got oomph and substance. Their ongoing collaboration with the legendary Northampton-based George Cox, creator of the original brothel creeper in 1949, is my natural Purified shoe of choice and for AW14, they come in styles of brown snakeskin and perforated white leather. My Purified-feet are currently living in their Polly tasseled loafer on in navy patent. They always manage to garner remarks from feet onlookers despite their less-than-ostentatious appearance. Sturdy definitely doesn’t mean boring in the case of Purified.
Entering the chunky and sturdy footwear market is Kult Domini, designed by Kate Deeley, whose signature 70s-inspired round toed brogue is taking a surefooted step towards dispelling the idea that high end shoes need to have a three inch and above stiletto heel attached to it. “Some people were a bit hesitant and didn’t know how to take it. It’s in the luxury price bracket of a cocktail shoe but it’s a flat,” said Deely. There have been early adopters though such as LN-CC. The way I see it, surely the shoes that get extra miles pounded on the pavement, need to be well made to withstand all that walking. Kult Domini’s shoes developed in brogue-specific factories in Italy have been meticulously well crafted and rendered in unusual textures that Deely selects from the premium Italian leather fairs. Deely previously worked in accessories for Victoria Beckham and Vivienne Westwood but her own shoe venture underwent an indepth research process so that the unique round toe that you see below could be made. There’s something endearingly childlike about Kult Domini’s shoes. They’re friendly looking because of the roundness. And of course they’re kind to the feet because of their shape. Chunky heel aficionados can rejoice collectively.
For AW14, Kult Domini has teamed up with Leutton Postle so they could go really go wild with printed ponyskins and iridescent leathers.